Mini-grants to local health departments: an opportunity to promote climate change preparedness
journal contributionposted on 18.04.2019, 00:00 by Elena Grossman, Michelle Hathaway, Kathleen F. Bush, Matthew Cahillane, Dorette English, Tisha Holmes, Colleen E. Moran, Christopher Uejio, Emily A. York, Samuel Dorevitch
Context: Human health is threatened by climate change. While the public health workforce is concerned about climate change, local health department administrators have reported insufficient knowledge and resources to address climate change. Mini-grants from state to local health departments (LHDs) have been used to promote a variety of local public health initiatives. Objective: To describe the mini-grant approach used by state health departments implementing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) framework; to highlight successes of this approach in promoting climate change preparedness at LHDs, and to describe challenges encountered Design: Cross-sectional survey and discussion. Intervention: State-level recipients of CDC funding issued mini-grants to local public health entities to promote climate change preparedness, adaptation, and resilience. Main Outcome Measures: The amount of funding, number of local health departments funded per state, goals, selection process, evaluation process, outcomes, successes, and challenges of the mini-grants programs. Results: Six state-level recipients of CDC funding for BRACE framework implementation awarded mini-grants ranging from $7,700 to $28,500 per year to 44 unique local jurisdictions. Common goals of the mini-grants included capacity-building, forging partnerships with entities outside of health departments, incorporating climate change information into existing programs, and developing adaptation plans. Recipients of mini-grants reported increases in knowledge, engagement with diverse stakeholders, and the incorporation of climate change content into existing programs. Challenges included addressing climate change in regions where the topic is politically sensitive, as well as the uncertainty about the long-term sustainability of local projects beyond the term of mini-grant support. Conclusions: Mini-grants can increase local public health capacity to address climate change. Jurisdictions that wish to utilize mini-grant mechanisms to promote climate change adaptation and preparedness at the local level may benefit from the experience of the six states and 44 local health programs described.